Words & Banter

Who Said, “You’re Not The Boss Of Me!”?


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So, I have a question for you, and it’s not a trick question. And I know you’ll give me an honest answer, and whatever it is, my feelings won’t be hurt.

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That is a lot of prefacing … can you get to the question?


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After all these years working together on Red & Black, I feel like we each understand our respective responsibilities even though in speaking engagements we joke about me being in charge of “warm and fuzzy” and you being in charge of pragmatism and sarcasm.


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OK. And, your question is …?


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I’m not sure how to phrase it, so I’ll just come out and ask. Do you think of yourself as “the boss”?

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Do you?

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At the risk of sounding like a five-year-old, I asked you first! And you know I hate when you answer a question with a question. But my answer is … oh yes, definitely! In fact, on numerous occasions, I’ve been known to refer to you as “the boss” (with all due respect to Bruce Springsteen, of course). Even the girls have heard me refer to you that way, and they’ve never, not once, questioned me, so there must be some agreement, at least in my family, about who’s the boss.

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Yes, I have heard you do that, but rarely take it seriously. Although sometimes I think you want me to be your “excuse” for doing, or not doing, something. It is a great conflict avoidance ploy because you can “blame” the decision on me.

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True, but it’s also my way of finding out something without the pressure of outright asking.

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Sound like a lot of extra work, especially as it will not change my answer.

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The funny thing is I usually know the answer, but it helps when I hear myself “floating the idea” past you. And when it comes to Red & Black, there’s no question you’re in charge because you have the M.B.A. and decades of experience as a business executive.

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Which merely means I have different areas of expertise and experience. When I was in the corporate world, I would hire to my weaknesses. I know what I know – I need people on my team who know what I do not.

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Like the fact you always turn to me for what I call the “mere mortal” perspective. But that doesn’t change the fact that your business background and always being “all business” makes you more qualified to be a “boss.”

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Does it? As a parent, are you not the “boss” of your children? Helping them make better decisions, but overruling when necessary. How many times have we discussed, even at our most recent speaking engagement, that when you refer to yourself as “just a mom”, you are ignoring all your highly valuable skills?


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And I get that, but only because you’ve pointed it out countless times. But if you hadn’t decided to turn my crisis into a book, a brand, and a business, I would’ve gone back to baking brownies and carpool lines.


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That sounds good, but the reality was you needed to take control of your life instead of it controlling you, and I just played the role of “bossy big sister” to make you see that. But, being bossy is very different from having the authority to be the boss.


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And you perfected being bossy when we were growing up, but you still haven’t answered my question. Do you think of yourself as “the boss”?


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How are you defining “boss”? As you know, I own 1% more of the company than you, which technically means I have more “authority”. I could pull rank, but when it comes to business, I prefer teamwork.


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Well, we definitely make a good team, even with our very different backgrounds and personalities.


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The key to making the best business decisions is acknowledging that and learning from one another. And, always remembering there would be no Red & Black … without Red or without Black.


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OK, boss, whatever you say.

When we reread the post we did two years ago (see below), we felt it was worth repeating … as even though mental health’s being discussed more, too many people still don’t want to talk about their situations because they feel ashamed and/or they don’t know “Where To Start – Mental Health In A Changing World” (the theme of this May’s Mental Health Awareness Month) or who to contact. (Remember, there’s a 988 lifeline.)

Millions of Americans face mental health issues each year, and it’s important to remember that no one has to face it alone.





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I’ve only recently started listening to country music, mainly because that’s what Sawyer’s always listening to, but I already knew of the mother-daughter duo, The Judds .


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Hard not to, as it was the most successful female duo.


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What’s hard to believe is that the day before her and Wynonna’s induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame , Naomi committed suicide. As a mother, your instinct is to put your children first, so that shows the overwhelming depth of the depression she was battling.


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I am sure people questioned how someone who appeared to have everything, and was about to be awarded one of her industry’s highest honors, could feel so bad about herself or her life to want to end it.
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Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


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As you know, I love history, but I appreciate many people don’t.


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I am one of those people, so not sure where you are going with this.


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Exactly. So, when you first wanted to talk to me about the history of credit cards, I should have known something was up.


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Or, at least been curious.


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How was I supposed to know it would make a difference in my life?


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Why else would I want to give you a “history lesson”?
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Photo by mevans on iStock
Let’s be very clear. Autism has no correlation with intelligence; it’s a developmental disability (or what Black refers to as “DIFF-abilities”). And it’s a spectrum disorder, which means each autistic person has their unique mix of abilities, challenges, and ways of seeing the world (can’t that be said of all of us?!) So, as we celebrate World Autism Acceptance Week, remember it’s more than just awareness – it’s about acceptance.

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Did you know that April's Autism Awareness Month? I wasn't aware (pun intended) of it until I read our local homeowner's monthly newsletter and it caught my eye.


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Actually, last month the founding organization, the Autism Society, changed "Awareness" to "Acceptance" to foster inclusivity, as knowing about something is very different from accepting it. But I am guessing that is not the point of this call.


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Although it isn't autism, it reminded me of years ago when we found out that Natasha has learning disabilities.


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I think you mean DIFF-abilities.


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Of course, that's another thing I remember. I was focused on the negative aspects of her diagnosis until you asked me, point-blank, "Why are they called disabilities?" And proceeded to explain that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses.


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Exactly! Imagine the world if everyone excelled at math, but flunked English. Or, a world of lawyers, but no musicians. Some people are better at social skills, while others excel at handling technical data. Why not just say that people who have different skillsets and abilities have DIFF-abilities versus making them feel like they have shortcomings?
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